Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Morning Stroll

As I sit outside this morning I looked up to see a male and female mallard walking across one of the bridges in my courtyard.  It was an adorable scene that begged me to jump up, grab my phone and photograph it to share on facebook.  In this social media crazed world, which I truly enjoy participating in, our first thought is to share it with others.  And there really is something great about that.  About being able to share our lives with others, to be able to see and experience things with friends near and far.  Really, I want to be clear, I love social media.

But in that moment, as I was about to jump up and capture it for all to see I stopped.  Because the down side of becoming a reporter for the world is that sometimes we completely miss experiencing the moment for ourselves.  So I continued sitting still and watching these two companions come across the bridge, walk across the grass, pause on a path near a second bridge to enjoy the view.  They weren't in a hurry, seemed to have nowhere to be but here in this moment, in this place, together.  And for a few minutes I got to join them, share in their contented morning stroll and enjoy this place God put me today.  Eventually the waddled off out of my sight to carry on with their day and I had to get up and begin my day.  But for a moment, I got to stop the crazy of life with Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and just be present.

It was nice.  So, although I still don't have a picture, I decided to share it.  After I was done experiencing it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

God's Perfect Timing

Yesterday was Easter and it was sunny.  I have often noticed that no matter what stage of winter/spring we are having here in Minnesota, on Easter Sunday it is always sunny.  I think God does that on purpose.  Except last year, I specifically remember thinking, "Um God, Hello, it is Easter, where is your sun?"  But this year not only was it sunny but it was also WARM, which we really have not had for a long time.  6 months really.  Seriously, we have not had warm weather for 6 MONTHS.  But yesterday it was glorious, 70 degrees, beautiful blue skies.  I did not wear a coat, stood outside talking to friends while the kids did an easter egg hunt after church, sat on my parents deck after lunch, sat on my own patio until well past dinner time dragging myself in to feed the family.  Glorious.  If only every day the weather was that perfect...

This morning as I was writing out my prayer I thanked God for bringing the good weather in his perfect timing.  But then I thought about that.  While bringing perfect weather on Easter Sunday is perfect timing, couldn't we have had a nice ramp up to perfectly timed perfect weather?  While I truly believe that God makes everything perfect in his perfect timing, it just got me thinking about the wait before the perfect timing.  Because I think that a month ago the timing would have been pretty perfect too.

This was a LONG winter.  And that isn't to say that throughout the winter I didn't know spring would come, it always does.  Frankly, knowing spring would eventually come was what got me through winter.  But did knowing it would come in God's perfect timing make it any easier?  Make me long for the warmth any less?

Maybe it is just me but somehow when I think of the phrase, "All in God's perfect timing" I feel like the underlying message is:  Therefore stop being unhappy where you are at, stop wishing for something you don't have, stop thinking about the future, stop...just stop.  So as I think about spring coming in God's perfect timing this year and look back on how miserable I have felt about the weather the last couple months I immediately feel guilty for not being content and trusting in God's perfect timing.

But then I wonder.  Does knowing God works all things out in his perfect timing, in his perfect way, mean I am not allowed to be miserable in a miserable situation?  Does it mean I am not allowed to want for the better?  For warm weather, for improved relationships, for financial security?  Why do I think that because God takes care of everything I am not allowed to desire.  When it is ridiculously cold and miserable outside am I not allowed to experience that?

I don't think that is right at all.  We are called to be content in all situations but lately I have been learning that a desire for better does not automatically mean I am discontent.  I can work to improve my life without being discontent with where it is right now.  Or I can work to improve my life while being discontentment with where I am right now.  Two vastly different experiences will follow.  Somehow this truth seems so simple and obvious that I should have figured it out long before I was in my 40's.  Yet I continue to learn and grow...all in God's perfect timing.  So while I did have a couple days this winter of despairing discontentment over the weather, overall I was content to just walk through each day knowing God would work it out in his perfect timing.  Whether I liked that particular timing or not.

Photo: I have been dreaming of doing this since we move in last fall. If you need me for the next few months you can find me here.

If you need me for the next few months you can find me here, feeling content, enjoying the blessing of warm weather and soaking up the joy of spring and summer to contentedly get me through another cold and miserable winter next year.

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Phil 4:12-13
"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."  Is 40:31

Friday, April 18, 2014

Crazy Busy but Wonderful

When I was a homemaker I read a lot of books on planning, time management, organization, leadership, etc.  At the time it was because I was running a household, helping John run a small business, helping with church ministry, raising children.  I thought I was busy and needed to get control over these areas of my life so I could stay on top of everything. And really, I did.  If I hadn't had a plan it would have been a mess.

But now that I am working and running a household, starting a small business and raising a daughter, while my husband is in school full time and working I really need those books.  I have read even more books and web sites the past couple years on time management and organization from a working perspective.  And I am trying to figure out our life and how to plan so everything still gets done.

It is a juggling act.  I am slowly figuring out what is important and what can wait.  I am re-discovering the importance of a to-do list in keeping me on track.  However, what I have not figured out is how to re-arrange the schedule when something comes up.  I realize now how much margin I had in my life when I was a homemaker compared to now.  This week was a good but full week.  I had meetings, appointments, time with friends, time for paperwork and time to run a couple errands all scheduled in.

Then I got sick.

I am not really that sick, just a cold, but I wanted to be sure I slept well Tuesday night so I took some nyquil before bed.  I forget how sensitive I am to drugs, I should not have done that.  While I was sickest Wednesday I could have pressed forward, I have been much sicker and worked, but I couldn't push out of my nyquil fog.  I slept until after 1pm and it was another couple hours and some food before I finally was able to get in the shower so I could meet clients at 5pm.  I might have tried to run my errands after that meeting but we were having one of those not so unusual April snow storms and all I wanted to do was get back home.

The problem is I literally do not have another free moment to run errands again until Saturday.  And while we have food and John can wait 2 more days to shave his head, I had planned to buy Easter cards to send my son and daughter-in-law so they received them before Easter.  I could have sent them on Thursday and possibly still gotten them on time but Saturday...Definitely will be a late Easter gift.

Now this is hardly an end of the world problem.  I suppose if it was I would have stayed out in the snow storm wednesday night and got it done.  But what it reminds me of is how little margin I have in my life right now.

One day at a time as I slowly begin to get organized and make a plan I am seeing how all those books on being an organized homemaker, all those classes on time management I took when I had lots of time to manage are now so relevant and helpful in my life as I learn to find that time and create a little margin.  I am thankful for the stage of my life where I had time to learn to organize my time.

And as I am praying for revival in my family, starting with me, I love how even something like managing your time is a topic God has addressed.  Yesterday I was reading in Prov 16 (on April 16, get it?):

"To man belong the plans of the heart but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue." v1"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." v3"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."v9"Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed." 15:22 (from the 15th reading.)

As I sit down this weekend to finally catch my breath, after running those set aside errands, and start making plans for next week, I am reminded to let the Lord look over my plans and continue walking forward with Him through this crazy busy but wonderful stage of life we are in.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Jonah and Revival

The past few weeks we have had a sermon series on Jonah at church.  Excellent as always.  It is a fascinating book which includes a fantastical tale of a man living in a fish for 3 days and 3 nights.  A man called by God who runs away from that call.  A man who sees there is no way out, confesses his sin, is released from his fishy captivity and goes to fulfill God's call on his life.

When Jonah gets there I really don't imagine a ton of enthusiasm in his message.  Nineveh isn't a place of God.  It is filled with sinful people living sinful lives.  That is sort of the whole reason God is going to destroy it and the whole reason Jonah didn't want to go in the first place.  I sort of imagine him wandering the city square muttering under his breath, "the end is near, the end is near".  No call to repentance since he did not believe nor want God to save them.  He wandered over to the temple, preached his message with no engaging stories or convicting finger pointing.  Just your basic, "you are all a bunch of sinners and God is going to destroy you" message and then sitting back down.  He did this while waiting for God to do the deed.  I imagine he planned to smile smugly at their destruction, knowing they deserved it, God said so, and head back where he came from.

But this crazy thing happened.  The people heard him, believed, and turned to God.  Confessed their sins and begged for mercy.  And then!  THEN!  To Jonah's horror, God accepted their confession, forgave them and called off the destruction plan!  Can you imagine?

So Jonah had a little tantrum, God tried to give him an object lesson and the book is over.

And we tell this story to our children in Sunday School lessons and in little story books and in veggie tales movies.

I sort of relate to Jonah.  I mean God makes a very big deal of sending him to warn Nineveh of its destruction.  He goes around telling everyone God is going to destroy the city and then God makes him look like a fool by changing his mind!

I hate looking stupid.  Seriously hate it.  So while I can look at this overall story and see how ridiculous Jonah was being about the whole thing, if I step in and stand in his shoes, I get it.

This week I have been thinking about times in my life where I really felt like I was following God's call and in the end things didn't go they way I expected.  And I am standing there looking a little foolish and wondering what I did wrong.  Did I hear wrong?  Do I know God at all?  I shrink back to my corner hoping nobody noticed and vow not to make any bold statements again.  Who am I to know the mind of God?  I will just hang back and watch life play out, no need to be a player, just observe and lick my wounds.

But maybe, MAYBE, it wasn't that I heard God wrong but that circumstances changed.  Maybe I don't know God's full plan.

I suspect that God's message all along, what He sent Jonah to do, was a call to repentance.  While he was prepared to destroy Nineveh His ultimate goal was to bring them back into fellowship with Him.  And the people fully did so. If Jonah had a heart for the things of God rather than being more aware of his own desires and actions, he might have seen the truth and been able to rejoice with God and the people of Nineveh.  If he was really paying attention and looking at his life he might have even put on sackcloth of his own and fasted and prayed alongside the Ninevites.

I am reminded that God's plans are bigger than my plans.  He sees the whole picture, knows the hearts of an entire city.  I can only see my very limited and earthly view of things.  Will I be like Jonah and hold a grudge against people never letting them change or reach out to God?  Will I go sit in the desert and demand God bring them destruction?  Or will I join God in his work?  Rejoice when I see repentance and trust that His plans, His ways are far above my own.

I have been thinking about praying for revival this week.  And I was reminded of a story I first read in the book, "The Circle Maker" of a man who drew a circle on the ground, sat down inside and asked God to create a revival inside that circle.  Revival starts with us.  Any revival I want to see must start with me.  And it starts with confessing our sins and submitting ourselves to God's purposes.

That is what I am doing this week because while I may relate to Jonah, I don't want to be Jonah.

Care to join me?  Here are a couple great articles I found to help get me started:

How to Have a Personal Revival
Preparation for Personal Revival

Sunday, March 2, 2014

My brown Kitchen

This is a random post I should probably save for our anniversary but when I get an idea for a post I just go with it.  Maybe I will re-post it for our anniversary.

Weddings are wonderful for many reasons.  Love, family, celebration.  But on the practical side, they are great for setting up homemaking.  It would have been a challenge for John and I to buy everything we needed in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and general home decor. With a wedding and a couple showers we had everything we needed and more.  Many of our wedding gifts have long been used up, worn out, broken or gone out of fashion and left the behind.  We have slowly replaced bedding, towels, dishes, knives, utensils, candle holders, etc over the years.  However, as I wander our home I find a few treasures still here from that outpouring of love from family and friends on our special day.

I didn't pull out every single thing but you get the idea.  Pyrex lives forever, mixing bowls, cake pans of every size and pie plates continue to serve us well.  Almost all of them were clear.  You will also note the Chicago cutlery knife and sharpener (no that knife is not sharp anymore) and the brown visionware spoon that went with the brown visionware pots and pans we registered for.

The formal stuff.  I still love my china and yes indeed I do still keep the relish tray in its original box.  That crystal pitcher is so heavy you couldn't lift it to pour if you added water so it gets used mainly for flowers.

We had 2 precious ring bearers who gave us this after the rehearsal.  Reminds us 23 years later we can always be on our honeymoon.

When we were at Dayton's registering for our wedding we found ourselves unprepared for setting up a home.  Of course we didn't ask for help, we were determined to be independent and do everything ourselves as our own new little family rather than let our parents influence our decision.  Besides, what could they possibly know about buying new home stuff?  Their homes were full of old stuff.  We were going to be modern, not old fashioned.  Except of course we had no idea what that meant.

You know how some little girls play house and imagine what their future home will look like?  You know how as they grow up they dream of getting married and having a home of their own?  You know how they might have started with a decorating plan for their room?  My sister-in-law had already started collecting her wedding flatware and another friend had bought a set of dishes.  You know how girls are like that?  I wasn't that girl.  I should have been voted most unlikely to marry at 19.

I had literally never given any thought to getting married or how my future home would look or be decorated.  Not that I didn't want a decorated home but I had just never thought about to how you put everything together.  And, as you can imagine, neither had John.

So there we were wandering around Dayton's trying to figure out what we needed for the rest of our lives.  From a practical standpoint we were able to write down baking pans, measuring cups, mixing bowls, etc.  Back then they didn't have a scanning gun that let you chose the exact mixing bowl you wanted just the general category.  Then the tricky part came in, you wrote down your decorating scheme.  What are your colors?  Because of John's sister getting married the year before us and not getting any towels the color they registered for we happened to have given some thought to this one question.  Burgundy, black and gray towels came to us in many brands and shades.  Then we got to the kitchen.  What are your kitchen colors?  And I am sort of thinking, "kitchens have colors?"  At the time John was living in an apartment with bright salmon colored countertops that should have seen the end of their useful life a few years before.  I didn't know much but I knew I wasn't going to decorate around that color. Having absolutely no idea what to put down we finally wrote down "earth tones" thinking that means neutral and we can then put with whatever color we do eventually decide on.

Luckily most people decided against giving us kitchen things with a color because it became clear what a mistake it was when I started opening earth toned gifts.  Brown towels and potholders.  And a set of mixing bowls that were Orange, green and yellow.

 23 years later I am still using the ugliest thing we got for our wedding.

The Orange and Green have broke but the yellow bowl lives on.

In the following years as other friends got married it quickly became apparent to me that they all understood something about decorating and setting up a home that I had totally missed when doing my wedding registry.  The hottest look in kitchens at that time was bright white kitchens with cobalt blue accents. I never could work my brown towels and orange mixing bowl into that particular trend.  Over the years many kitchen color schemes have come and gone, our earth tones even had their day in the sun.  But I still look back and laugh about getting brown kitchen towels for my wedding.

I don't know if it is simply irony or if that experience actually played a role in determining our life work. John proceeded to go to school for home design and we ran a business in which knowing all the latest design and decorating trends, especially for kitchens was a vital aspect of our success.  People now come to us for advice on designing and decorating their homes.  We've come a long way from those two clueless kids sitting on the floor of Dayton's filling out a registry.

In case your are wondering what I dream of these days I thought I would put a few items from my pintrest page on for your viewing pleasure.

gray cabinetry, stripe tile detail
I do have a master bath that needs re-doing and this would look great in there.

Contemporary Kitchens, Integrated Appliances, Bench tops and Soft Closing Doors, Impala Kitchens and Bathrooms
Our new kitchen is a little more contemporary with gloss white cabinets and black appliances.  Would love to replace our carpet with dark wood floors.  Haven't decided yet if I want to do dark countertops though.  That sounds a little high maintenance.  Age has taught me to consider both design and function.

Small Bedroom Interior Design - Interior Design for Small Space
Isabelle's room would look great like this.  Although her and John and plotting to build a loft bed...

Laundry Room
We have identified a corner of our dining room where we are going to build a closet with a laundry room behind it.  I love being able to visualize.  Also, love the black laquered doors they put on this.  I just saw black doors in an older home that had been remodeled to have a more contemporary design and it was fabulous.  Keep the trim white and just paint the doors.  Sounds crazy but totally works.

The other day I was talking to a girlfriend, one that thought a lot about her future home growing up.  She finally says, "I have to go, Lottie and I are re-wallpapering a room in her doll house."  I started to laugh.  Her 6 year old was already preparing for her future home.  I think I see a decorating project for Isabelle and I in the future.  I wouldn't want her to end up with brown dish towels.  Unless of course that is the current trend.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Embracing the Path Before Us

When Jake was 4 years old we made a decision.  We had been trying unsuccessfully to give him a sibling for 3 years and finally hit a wall.  While we hadn't exhausted every medical option that existed, we had exhausted every option financially available to us at that time. So with reality smacking us in the face we looked at God, acknowledged the path he had put us on and began to celebrate it.  God gave us one child.  A great child.  A child we adored.  If we were to be the parents of an only child we would embrace this path with gusto!

One of the first things we did was get a family picture taken.  We had gotten one taken when Jake was about 15 months but I had put off updating it since then because we were about to get pregnant and have another so I might as well wait until then.  Why waste money on a photo of the family that will be obsolete so quickly?  In an effort to put action to our resolve we went out and had family pictures taken.

(I would scan in that picture here but I am too lazy.  I will just tell you it is adorable and we all look young, fresh and energetic.)

You don't always realize how you are putting your life on hold waiting for something until you let go and stop waiting.  In the back of my mind I had avoided a significant vacation because our family wasn't complete.  I wanted our whole family to experience the world with us.  So we headed to Disneyland the following year. The truth is that we don't really travel all that much, not that we wouldn't like to but we just have never prioritized our money that way, so the next time we took a trip of any significance was almost 10 years later when we went to Kenya, but that Disney trip was a huge symbolic step to embracing and celebrating the path God had put us on.

With this appreciation of God's guiding in our life we have more quickly embraced the road blocks and changes that have come our way over the years.  Not seamlessly, not perfectly, our will still conflicts at times with God's plans and I do still fight it at times.  But we have learned to live our life amidst whatever reality is before us.

This past fall as we were house hunting for this downsized home we got to embrace a reality we hadn't expected to experience quite so soon.  Jake being gone.  When we started house hunting we were looking for 3 bedrooms expecting Jake to still have seasons at home with us.  But by fall he had joined the army and decided to marry.  Both those actions guaranteed he would not need a bedroom in our home again.  Moving our sights to a 2 bedroom gave us the option of prioritizing the needs of the child we still have at home and finding the perfect fit for our family.  Embracing the stage of parenting we are in now.

At Jake's wedding I returned to the symbolic action I first took when we embraced him as an only child, the family picture.  Our family has changed, in a variety of ways, and we now need 4 family pictures to represent who we are today.  We captured that change in the moment it happened.

A family of 3 once again embracing the only child lifestyle.

A new family created.

A wedding is a place where a family both multiplies and divides.

That only child God gave us has grown to become 3 beautiful children for us to love.

How are you embracing he path God has set before you?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Winter blahs, working, Nehemiah, Anne and the warm breeze of summer

It is winter.  I mean winter, winter.  We are beyond the beginning of winter when the snow arrives and cleans up all the dead and dreary scenery, we are past the joyful holidays, we are past that bitter cold spell where you determine your grit and push forward, BUT, we aren't heading into the home stretch where signs of spring mingle with cold and snow.  Nope, we are in that part of winter that is just winter, winter.  Cold, snow, ice and nothing but stretching before us.

It is beautiful.  After a fresh snowfall we do try to focus on that.  For a day or two.  And, yesterday as I was pushing my grocery cart through the snow and ice covered parking lot I even thought of something to be thankful for:  I was not pushing a crabby 2 year old in a grocery cart through a snow and ice covered parking lot.  It really is amazing how much more enjoyable an experience it becomes when you remember that detail.

So I am in the winter blahs.

But I am a Minnesotan, this is not my first winter, not my first winter blah.  After a couple days of being pathetic I finally realized there was nothing to do but keep moving so I got up and moved on with my life.  And stopped for a Caribou on my way.  Because nothing helps say, "suck it up buttercup" like a sugary cup of coffee.

So to explain my life right now I think it is necessary to review the last almost 3 years. (Can you believe it has been almost 3 years since I returned to work!)  Year one had me working 8-5 every. single. day. M-F.  I liked the job and the people but we realized that particular structure was just not us.  Plus there was no real opportunity for me to grow in that company and I wasn't making anything near enough to support us once John quit working, even with a downsize.  So then I went to a 30 hour a week from home job which seemed like it would be perfect except that it wasn't.  And after 9 months self preservation caused me to quit that job.  But by then I had realized what I needed to do was real estate.  I had loved and wanted to sell real estate for so many years I couldn't even tell you but never was ready to take on the task before.  But now with the time to work carved out of my life, a clear sense of my need for making money and my preparedness to actually do the work I went for it and started my own business.  I have been running John's business for years and telling him what to do to grow and succeed.  This is my chance to do those things for myself.  And so for the last almost year I have been learning, calling, meeting, talking, mailing, listening, asking, showing.  I have seriously loved every single second of it.  John worked all summer making money while I was busy working basically for free.  When I started everyone told me it takes at least a year to start making money in real estate.  And the longer I am in it the more I see the truth of that statement.  It takes time to tell everyone you know you are selling real estate and then not everyone you know is buying or selling the year you start, so you have to wait.  I have a hand full of people who "sometime in the next year or two" are going to move and use me but this does not pay my bills today.  Eventually it will come together but until then I did what I knew I would have to do when I started, get a part time job.  Which I did last month and I am really happy with the decision.

So here we are today.  I went from a job where I was out of the house nearly 10 hours a day with lunch and commute time but evenings and weekends were completely mine, to a job I was at home all the time and worked the hours around my schedule ton now where I am doing a combination of work that is dictated by others and work that I manage myself.  It is the right balance for making me feel in control and yet is such a full plate I sometimes feel out of control.  I am finding that the hardest part about establishing a business is that you are  never sure it is safe to stop working.  And yet at this early stage of starting I am not always sure what exactly the next thing to do is.  So I find myself sort of hovering all the time over the business.  Afraid to walk away but not always sure what to do while I am there.

I also am experiencing a new phenomenon in working that I had never had.  Working weekends.  My part time job has me doing a Saturday shift until 2pm. And then Sunday's I am often holding open houses after church.  Which then leads me to the reality that I no longer have a weekend.

Now I am not complaining but I have suddenly found myself working 7 days a week and it is a bit overwhelming!  OK maybe a little complaint but mostly I am thrilled to have so much to do and work I really am enjoying.  However, I have a husband and daughter and friends and a home to squeeze in there.  Plus I miss running, I want to be able to take a vacation day this summer and occasionally I just like to do my nails or something just for me. The problem is when I get overwhelmed I don't go off and do my nails or go for a run or something that refreshes me.  Instead I pass out on the couch, watch too many hours of tv and then get mad at myself for wasting so much time when I have so much to do.  And what I realized this past weekend is that unlike when I was at home and would have an overwhelmed, lay on the couch breakdown, there is no margin in my life for this breakdown.  I needed those hours I wasted watching tv to do the laundry, make meals ahead or...do my nails (they are so bad right now).

Then again...Things tend to work themselves out.  First of all, I am not doing everything on my own anymore.  While I was laying on the couch John made a meal and froze it.  I did a couple loads of laundry yesterday morning before leaving and John finished the rest when he came home.  We are sharing the work load.  When I first started working I knew it was necessary but it was also stressful to share the work load.  I had been in control of the home and was used to knowing exactly what was happening with every task.  I knew I needed to let John help but it took time to let go and trust him.  I am there now.  (mostly.)  Secondly, this new home takes seconds to clean.  I can shape up 1100 square feet in less than an hour.

So this week I am working on schedule organization, a plan for my working hours and my home hours.  Because while it turns out if I fall apart for an afternoon things do still get done, it still isn't ideal.  I would rather enjoy my relaxation time, schedule it in, instead of becoming overwhelmed and falling apart because I forgot to take care of myself.

I decided to read through Nehemiah during my quiet time.  That man  had a big project in front of him.  He took time off from his job to go to Jerusalem, rally the Israelites and get the wall and gates rebuilt.  He encountered lots of obstacles but kept moving forward, displayed leadership skills and got the job done.  It just seems like there might be something worth learning at this stage of my life.

I am also reading the book Anne of Green Gables to Isabelle right now.  This was a favorite when I was a kid.  As an adult I see it with new eyes and find it even more brilliant.  It is easy to see why it is so beloved.  The other day I read the part where Anne is in a little boat floating down the river when all the sudden she realizes it is starting to sink.  She is standing in the boat when she sees the pillars of the bridge she is coming toward and realizes it is her chance.  She didn't close her eyes because she didn't want to miss the opportunity but she prayed and told God if He would just bring the boat near the pillar she would do the work!  And I think about what I am doing career wise.  There is a lot to do and a lot to watch and I find myself also afraid to close my eyes for fear of missing he opportunity but often praying, "God, just bring me close and I will do the work!"  I think this is the same type of prayer that Nehemiah prayed. There are several times where he prayed and then spoke or did.  Quick in the moment prayers. I bet he didn't close his eyes either.  I bet it was a prayer that sounded a little like Anne's, "get me close and I will do the work."

So the update of my life is that I am working.  It is cold and there is a lot of snow.  

When John started school someone said to him, 10 years from now it will be 10 years from now. Great advice for our stage of life.  But also maybe for the next 4 months.  No matter our attitude or action time goes on, life moves forward.  So whether I am up or down, work hard or wallow in the winter blahs for the next 4 months, June will come, the grass will turn green, the trees will blossom, the pool will open, and summer will be upon us.  While we wait the question is, "How will I spend the time?"  What am I going to accomplish?  Am I still going to be sitting here feeling overwhelmed or am I going to say my prayer and do the work God brings my way, get my schedule organized and be ready with a plan that allows me to sit guilt free on my porch and enjoy the warm summer breeze?